Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president of Thomas Edison State University, announced yesterday that, despite the suspension of federal tuition assistance caused by the partial government shutdown, Coast Guard students will be able to remain enrolled in the University’s courses. The University’s Foundation is stepping in to help enrolled Coast Guard students by deferring their tuition until their tuition assistance is once again available.
“TESU has always stood by our military students and we stand with our Coast Guard students today in their time of need,” Hancock said. “I’m delighted but not surprised by the generosity of the TESU Foundation Board in its support of our students. These Coast Guard members are facing serious hardships through no fault of their own. We would like to give them peace of mind when it comes to their education.”
The Coast Guard sent notice last week that it would suspend all tuition assistance during the partial shutdown. This notice suggested that the tuition assistance program would be resumed once the Coast Guard has a fiscal year 2019 appropriation. However, students were informed that they could potentially have full financial responsibility for funding their courses if they start classes without an approved tuition assistance voucher.
Thomas Edison State University has 135 active-duty Coast Guard students, 27 of whom are currently registered for the February term. Because of the partial government shutdown, more than 41,000 active-duty Coast Guard members are working without pay. Their next paycheck would have been expected on Jan. 15.
“Coast Guard operations that protect life, property and national security must continue despite the lack of resources,” said Dr. Michael Toscani, chair of the TESU Foundation Board. “We are proud to do our part to support educational opportunities for our Coast Guard members.”
Of the five branches of the armed services, only members of the Coast Guard are affected by the partial shutdown, since their education is funded through the Department of Homeland Security. Other military students are funded by the Department of Defense, which is not affected by the shutdown.